Let the deep water waves and ocean flow embrace you with this underwater hotel based in the Maldives. The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, called the Muraka, welcomes guests to a night among the fishes.
The ‘Muraka’, which means ‘coral’ in the native Maldives’ language, comprises of two suites: a larger one above the waters and a small one below it. It was envisioned by crown company director Ahmed Saleem. The mini-hotel is isolated from all other villas and includes a wide range of facilities including a private gym, a bar, an infinity pool, butler’s quarters, a bathtub which overlooks the ocean and a private jetty. Nearby, is the Ithaa underwater restaurant designed by the same team who brought Muraka to life.
The upper suite is much more spacious and luxurious but the facility to sleep with an overhead roof made out of swimming fishes makes the lower suite much more glorious. The lower level is situated 5m below the surface of the water and up to nine guests can be accommodated at a time. The lower level and upper levels can be accessed using an elevator or a spiral staircase.
In the lower area, a master suite has been added which includes a bedroom, a bathroom, and a lounge. Curved acrylic dome windows all around provide great underwater views of the fishes giving you an unforgettable experience.
The underwater section of the Muraka weighs about 600 tonnes. It was first built on firm ground in Singapore and brought to the Maldives using a special ship which ensures no damage to the underwater life and corals. The suite was then later lowered into the water with the help of cranes. The suite is held in place using concrete pylons nailed into it. This makes sure that any disturbance in the water does not shift or break the structure. In order to sustain the attention on the view that the suite offers, the designer, Yuji Yamazaki (YYU) used minimal interior designing keeping it mostly simple. The floor has been covered in silk so as to reduce the possible reverberation.
“People don’t go to a theater to see the theater, they are there for the show,” says YYA. “We had to make sure that the guests can have the underwater views from every vantage point of the room. More than 75 percent of the wall, ceiling surfaces are made of clear acrylic. The glare and reflection on clear acrylic had to be minimized and views to the ocean had to be secured. We also wanted to give a sense of comfort. We looked at many interior designs from the private jet to classic Italian luxury cars, from which we learned about good details in confined spaces.”
Although a one night stay costs a spiking US$50,000, the Muraka comes equipped with extravagant facilities like a private seaplane that flies you into the resort, a speedboat which can be used during the stay, personal staff including a 24-hour butler, chef service, exotic dining activities, and menus. Undoubtedly, it is the most impressive underwater resort seen to date and will definitely be worth the bucks!
All Images: © Justin Nicholas